2 Democrats qualify for Colorado’s gubernatorial ballot

Cynthia Coffman, Nancy E. Rice
The Associated Press

BROOMFIELD, Colo. (AP) — Cary Kennedy and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis on Saturday both won spots on the Democratic gubernatorial ballot, setting the stage for a tightly contested primary fight to succeed term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Kennedy, a former state treasurer, was the clear favorite of the party faithful at the state assembly in Broomfield, buoyed by the support of teachers. She won 62 percent of the vote to Polis’ 33 percent.

Both candidates brought a similar message to the Broomfield assembly, pledging to push back against President Donald Trump, to protect the environment and to boost funding to schools by reforming the state’s strict limits on taxation.

They both promised to expand access to health care, but prescribed different solutions, with Polis pushing for a universal single-payer system similar to Medicare, and Kennedy proposing a public option to supplement existing private and public offerings.

“Health care isn’t a luxury for the rich,” Kennedy said. “It is a right.”

Polis touted his record in Congress, promising: “I will be ready on day one to go toe to toe with Donald Trump.”

Erik Underwood, a fringe candidate for the Democratic nomination who ran for U.S. Senate as a Republican in 2016, received 5 percent of the vote and did not qualify for the ballot. Mike Johnston, a former state senator, has successfully petitioned, and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne is attempting to.

Meanwhile, Republican delegates are meeting in Boulder to decide on whether to send state Treasurer Walker Stapleton, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and lesser-known candidates to the June 26 primary.

Contenders need 30 percent of the delegate vote at both events to advance.

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